Dr. Morice’s tubal reversal patients are excited about their pregnancies. Along with eating well and exercising during pregnancy, they want to do anything else that will improve their baby’s experience and development in the womb. A common question that we get is whether or not playing music to your belly while pregnant is safe.
Unfortunately, the jury is still out on whether playing music to your baby is safe. Researchers have suggested that music played near the womb can be bothersome to a baby. Others suggest that the womb is very stimulating, so adding stimulation is not necessarily a good idea.
However, some researchers believe that memories of music in the womb can help soothe an upset infant. They believe that babies are reminded of being in the womb, a soothing sensation, when they recognize a song or beat. A study released in 2013 showed that babies recognizes music that was played to them in the womb during their first months of life. The babies of mothers who played “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” 5 times a week had much higher brain activity upon hearing it in infancy than the children of moms who had not played it. This supports the idea of prenatal learning and memory forming in the womb. A more common example of prenatal learning is the knowledge that babies have learned their mother’s voice in the womb. This is proven by the baby’s heart rate increasing when they hear their mother’s voice.
A second study researched the effect of watching soap operas during pregnancy, though it’s sample size and data was not large enough to warrant absolute reliability. However, the researcher found that babies in their first days of life reacted to the theme song of their mom’s soap opera, often focusing their attention on it when played. This supports the belief that playing a song or lullaby to your baby can help soothe them in infancy.
Because of conflicting conclusions, we can’t say whether or not it’s definitely safe to play music to your baby. However, there is no evidence to suggest that light, soothing music is harmful to your baby, as long as it’s not played too often, too loudly, or for too long. Moreover, playing music can help you as a mother relax, which we know is definitely good for your baby.
If I want to play music, at what point in my pregnancy should I start?
Your baby begins to hear sounds at 17 weeks. Memories start to form around 30 weeks. Babies have been observed breathing to the beat of music at 33 weeks. At 38 weeks, babies have been reported to react differently to different types of music.
How often should I play music?
As with most things in life, moderation is key. Playing music stimulates your baby, so you don’t want to do it too much.
How loud should the music be?
You don’t want the music to exceed 50 decibels, which is about the loudness of music playing in a department store.
Which type of music should I play?
Pick music that has a repetitive beat such as classical music. Discordant music, such as rap or heavy metal, can be confusing and disturbing to babies. Choose music that both you and your baby will enjoy.
Should I put headphones on my belly?
We are not sure whether playing music directly into the womb using headphones is safe for the baby. Again, there just isn’t enough research yet. If this sounds like a fun idea to you, be sure that the music is not too loud.